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Everything posted by William Maley

  1. William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso

    Last year, I had the chance to spend a week in a Fiat 124 Spider Abarth. While I found it to offer improved handling and a somewhat nicer interior over the Mazda MX-5 Miata it is based on, there were a few items that kept me from saying it was better - mainly the turbo engine and exterior design. A couple of months ago, I found myself in another 124 Spider. This time, it was the Lusso which drops a fair amount of the aggression from the Abarth, along with providing a softer suspension tune. Would this model be able to change my tune? The Lusso is the polar opposite to the Abarth I drove last year in terms of looks. It is toned down with the removal of the aggressive bumpers and quad-tip exhausts. The end result is a much cleaner look. I just wished Fiat could have done more to the rear end as it still looks a bit out of place with the rest of the design. This particular Lusso is the Red Top Edition which as the name suggests has a red soft-top. I will admit this does add a touch of personality and helps the 124 Spider stand out. Not much has changed with the interior since our last review. Getting in and out is still a bit tough due to the low ride height and anyone over six-feet will feel quite cramped. The overall design is the same as the MX-5 Miata, with slight differences to the steering wheel and instrument cluster to make it slightly more Fiat-ish. Material quality is slightly higher than the Mazda, with more soft-touch materials. One issue I did discover in this go-around is the location of the 12-volt outlet. It is mounted deep in the passenger footwell, almost near the engine firewall. Finding it was not a pleasant experience as I needed to pull out my phone to act as a flashlight to find the stupid thing. Power comes from the turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder. Compared to the Abarth, the Lusso loses four horsepower. This is due to a more restrictive exhaust. My tester came with the optional six-speed automatic. I wish that I could say Fiat solved the engine issued I mentioned in the previous review, but they have not. The turbo engine still feels laggy on the low-end of the rpm band. Plus, the automatic transmission is tuned to quickly upshift to improve fuel economy. This leaves you without any turbo boost when you want it. I keep thinking that the six-speed manual would be slightly better as it would me control when it is time to shift, allowing the engine to be fully exploited. One trait that sets the 124 Spider apart from its Miata brethren is the suspension tuning. Fiat decided to go with a softer tune on most models - the Abarth is the exception as it gets a stiffer suspension setup. The difference is noticeable as the 124 Spider provides a slightly smoother ride than the Miata. This softening doesn’t change the handling dynamics of the Spider. It still darts into turns with minimal body roll and fast steering. The Lusso Red Top Edition sits as the flagship of the 2018 124 Spider lineup with a base price of $31,440. This comes equipped with a number of options such backup camera, Bose audio system, navigation, and heated seats as standard equipment. With destination, this vehicle comes to an as-tested price of $32,435. The Lusso model may be the sweet spot in the 124 Spider lineup as it offers a slightly smoother ride and improved interior. But Fiat still needs to address the performance of the turbo-four. It is a great alternative to the MX-5 Miata, but not better. Gallery: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 124 Spider, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Fiat Model: 124 Spider Trim: Lusso Engine: 1.4L MultiAir SOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500 Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 3,200 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/36/29 Curb Weight: 2,476 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $27,595 As Tested Price: $32,435 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge) Options: Red Top Edition Package 22T - $2,495.00 Red Top Edition Package 2DT - $1,350.00
  2. Last year, I had the chance to spend a week in a Fiat 124 Spider Abarth. While I found it to offer improved handling and a somewhat nicer interior over the Mazda MX-5 Miata it is based on, there were a few items that kept me from saying it was better - mainly the turbo engine and exterior design. A couple of months ago, I found myself in another 124 Spider. This time, it was the Lusso which drops a fair amount of the aggression from the Abarth, along with providing a softer suspension tune. Would this model be able to change my tune? The Lusso is the polar opposite to the Abarth I drove last year in terms of looks. It is toned down with the removal of the aggressive bumpers and quad-tip exhausts. The end result is a much cleaner look. I just wished Fiat could have done more to the rear end as it still looks a bit out of place with the rest of the design. This particular Lusso is the Red Top Edition which as the name suggests has a red soft-top. I will admit this does add a touch of personality and helps the 124 Spider stand out. Not much has changed with the interior since our last review. Getting in and out is still a bit tough due to the low ride height and anyone over six-feet will feel quite cramped. The overall design is the same as the MX-5 Miata, with slight differences to the steering wheel and instrument cluster to make it slightly more Fiat-ish. Material quality is slightly higher than the Mazda, with more soft-touch materials. One issue I did discover in this go-around is the location of the 12-volt outlet. It is mounted deep in the passenger footwell, almost near the engine firewall. Finding it was not a pleasant experience as I needed to pull out my phone to act as a flashlight to find the stupid thing. Power comes from the turbocharged 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder. Compared to the Abarth, the Lusso loses four horsepower. This is due to a more restrictive exhaust. My tester came with the optional six-speed automatic. I wish that I could say Fiat solved the engine issued I mentioned in the previous review, but they have not. The turbo engine still feels laggy on the low-end of the rpm band. Plus, the automatic transmission is tuned to quickly upshift to improve fuel economy. This leaves you without any turbo boost when you want it. I keep thinking that the six-speed manual would be slightly better as it would me control when it is time to shift, allowing the engine to be fully exploited. One trait that sets the 124 Spider apart from its Miata brethren is the suspension tuning. Fiat decided to go with a softer tune on most models - the Abarth is the exception as it gets a stiffer suspension setup. The difference is noticeable as the 124 Spider provides a slightly smoother ride than the Miata. This softening doesn’t change the handling dynamics of the Spider. It still darts into turns with minimal body roll and fast steering. The Lusso Red Top Edition sits as the flagship of the 2018 124 Spider lineup with a base price of $31,440. This comes equipped with a number of options such backup camera, Bose audio system, navigation, and heated seats as standard equipment. With destination, this vehicle comes to an as-tested price of $32,435. The Lusso model may be the sweet spot in the 124 Spider lineup as it offers a slightly smoother ride and improved interior. But Fiat still needs to address the performance of the turbo-four. It is a great alternative to the MX-5 Miata, but not better. Gallery: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 124 Spider, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Year: 2018 Make: Fiat Model: 124 Spider Trim: Lusso Engine: 1.4L MultiAir SOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500 Torque @ RPM: 184 @ 3,200 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/36/29 Curb Weight: 2,476 lbs Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan Base Price: $27,595 As Tested Price: $32,435 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge) Options: Red Top Edition Package 22T - $2,495.00 Red Top Edition Package 2DT - $1,350.00 View full article
  3. China has announced today that it would be reducing tariffs on U.S.-built cars and car parts from 40 to 15 percent beginning on January 1st. This reduction will last for three months as the U.S. and China begin hashing out a new trade deal. We first reported the reduction of the tariffs earlier this week. China's Ministry of Finance posted on their website said it hopes the talks between the two can go quickly and remove "all additional tariffs on each other’s goods" that were brought forth before the current trade-war. “China just announced that their economy is growing much slower than anticipated because of our Trade War with them. They have just suspended U.S. Tariff Hikes. U.S. is doing very well. China wants to make a big and very comprehensive deal. It could happen, and rather soon!” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter in response to the announcement. China raised the tariffs on U.S.-built vehicles and parts back in July in response to the U.S. raised tariffs on Chinese-built vehicles and parts to 27.5 percent. The move caused a number of headaches for automakers which had to increase prices on models sold in China or change up various plans. Various automakers and groups welcomed the news. At the moment, the U.S. hasn't announced any plans to reduce the 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese-built vehicles and parts. Source: Associated Press, Reuters View full article
  4. It has been a long time coming but Jeep has finally brought out the model that many have been clamoring for, a Wrangler pickup. This is the 2020 Gladiator and describing this a four-door Wangler with a bed is doing it a bit of disservice. Compared to the Wrangler, the Gladiator rides on a wheelbase that 19.4-inches longer and the frame has been extended by 31-inches. This increase in size does hurt off-road capability as the Gladiator has a lower breakover and departure angle when compared to the Wrangler. But that's the tradeoff you make for more utility. The bed comes in at five feet and is comprised of steel with an aluminum tailgate. Features for the bed include tie-down points, LED bed lighting, and power outlets. The rest of the Gladiator's design is the same as the Wrangler, down to the doors being removable and the choice of either a soft or hard-top. For the interior, Jeep has added a clever party trick. The rear bench seat can be folded flat to make for flat space for cargo. The seats can also be folded up 'stadium style' to reveal a set of pockets. Otherwise, the Gladiator's interior is the same as the Wrangler with a well laid out dash and the choice of either a 7 or 8.4-inch infotainment system. At launch, the Gladiator will come with 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This can be teamed with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. If you want some stump-pulling power, you need to wait until 2020 for a redesigned 3.0L turbodiesel V6 with 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. This will be paired with an eight-speed automatic only. No mention of fuel economy figures for either engine. The Gladiator promises to be quite capable, offering a max payload of 1,600 pounds and max towing of 7,650 pounds. For off-road adventures, the truck comes equipped with either a Command-Trac (two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and a set of heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio) or Rock-Trac 4x4 system (two-speed transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio and a electronic sway-bar disconnect). Jeep will begin producing the Gladiator in the first-half of next year at their Toledo, Ohio plant. Expect pricing to come out sometime before production kicks off. Gallery: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Source: Jeep All-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator: The Most Capable Midsize Truck Ever Legendary 4x4 Capability, Authentic Design Builds on Rich Jeep Truck Heritage, Best-in-class Towing and 4x4 Payload, Clever Functionality and Versatility, Advanced Fuel-efficient Powertrains, Open-air Freedom, and Loaded with Safety Features and Intuitive Technology Unmatched capability with Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires Unmatched crawl ratios Up to 30 inches of water fording Best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload: Up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity Up to 1,600 pounds of payload capacity Crew cab configuration features a durable five-foot steel bed with covered external power source and strong integrated tie-downs, providing versatility for flexible cargo options Modern, authentic design instantly recognizable as a Jeep®: Iconic keystone-shaped grille, round headlamps and square tail lamps Rugged-yet-distinguished design bolsters aerodynamics Convenient fold-down windshield for off-road purists The only true open-air 4x4 pickup truck with easy-to-use premium soft top and two hardtops Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors, hinges, hood, fenders, windshield frame and tailgate help curtail weight and boost fuel economy Suspension tuned to optimize on-road handling and ride comfort without sacrificing off-road capability, payload or towing capability Advanced fuel-efficient powertrains: 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) Eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 with ESS and an eight-speed automatic transmission available in 2020 Fourth-generation Uconnect system includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the choice of 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability Forward-facing off-road camera available on Rubicon allows obstructions on the trail to be easily seen Packed with more than 80 available advanced safety and security features November 28, 2018 , Los Angeles - The all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator – the most capable midsize truck ever – builds on a rich heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks with an unmatched combination of rugged utility, authentic Jeep design, open-air freedom, clever functionality and versatility, best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, superior on- and off-road dynamics and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology features. “Unquestionably a truck and instantly recognizable as a Jeep, the all-new 2020 Gladiator is the ultimate vehicle for any outdoor adventure,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand - North America. “There is tremendous demand for this unique vehicle from our loyal Jeep customers and pickup truck buyers everywhere. Born from a rich and proud heritage of tough, dependable Jeep trucks, Gladiator combines rugged utility, versatility and functionality resulting in the most capable midsize truck ever.” The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator delivers unmatched capability with best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload capacity, composed on-road driving dynamics and passenger safety. Legendary off-road capability comes courtesy of the Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available in these different trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon. Built in Toledo, Ohio, the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator arrives in showrooms in the second quarter of 2019. Modern take on authentic Jeep design The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator boasts a rugged, distinguished design aesthetic that is immediately recognizable with traditional Jeep design cues. The Jeep design team kept the legendary seven-slot grille seen on Wrangler, but widened the grille slots for additional air intake to assist with the increased towing capacity. The top of the keystone-shaped grille is gently swept back to enhance aerodynamics. Gladiator Overland and Rubicon models offer available LED headlamps and fog lamps that project crisp white lighting, adding to the truck’s modern look. Gladiator models equipped with LEDs feature daytime running lights, which form a halo around the outside perimeter of the headlights. Forward turn signals are positioned on the front of the trapezoidal wheel flares. From behind, traditional square tail lamps feature available LED lighting and give way to a wide tailgate opening for unobstructed loading of cargo into the bed. The tailgate is damped and capable of stopping in three positions, while cargo is easily secured with a power-locking tailgate. Clever functionality and versatility were the focus while designing the Gladiator’s durable bed to streamline usability. Under-rail bed lighting, an available covered external power source (400W 115-volt, three-prong) and strong integrated tie-downs, provide durability and versatility. The available Trail Rail Cargo Management System provides additional storage options to organize and secure cargo. The full-size spare tire and mount is located under the bed, behind the rear axle and capable of holding up to a 35-inch tire. An available spray-in bed liner, bed divider and tonneau cover provide even more options to keep cargo secure while helping with durability. Gladiator Rubicon models are equipped with protective cab and cargo bed rock rails. A four-bolt design at the top of the windshield’s frame allows for the windshield to fold down quickly and easily. A header bar connects the A-pillars and stays in place even when the windshield is folded down. This allows the rearview mirror to remain in place even with the windshield folded. Two-piece body-color fender flares with a black lower insert give a raised profile and are standard on Overland and available on Rubicon models. Lightweight, high-strength aluminum doors feature the Torx bit size stamped directly onto the hinge to eliminate guessing which size bit is needed to remove the doors. A tool kit with the necessary Torx bits to remove the doors and lower the windshield is provided as standard equipment. All Gladiators feature body-color sport bars, which are welded to the body and feature integrated grab handles for front occupants. A premium Sunrider soft top provides a segment-exclusive easy open-air option, which helps to quiet wind noise and allows for access to partial and full open top positions. The soft top features retainers that slide into a track for easy rear window removal. Gladiator Overland and Rubicon models share an available three-piece body-color hardtop option, offering a unique, premium appearance, while a black three-piece hardtop, available on all models, offers even more options for open-air driving. The two Freedom panels and quick-release latches enable a fast removal and installation of the hardtop. All hardtops feature a manual rear-sliding window. Dozens of different door, top and windshield combinations allow for endless configuration possibilities. Authentic interior design boasts premium features and technology The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s interior combines authentic styling, versatility, comfort and intuitive feature use. Precision craftsmanship and high-quality materials are found throughout the cabin. The heritage-inspired center stack features a clean, sculpted form that complements the horizontal dashboard design and sports a finish dictated by the model choice. A hand-wrapped instrument panel features a soft-touch surface with accent stitching on Gladiator Overland and available on Rubicon models. Functional features, including climate and volume control knobs, media charging and connectivity ports, and Engine Stop Start (ESS) control are all sculpted for quick recognition and are easily within reach of the front-seat occupants. Inboard and outboard circular HVAC vents are surrounded by a platinum chrome bezel for a precise and premium yet rugged appearance with full functionality. Jeep functionality and versatility are celebrated in the center console and distinguished with metal-plated accents. The center console houses gear shift selection, transfer case and parking brake. Real bolts featured on the shifter, grab handles and the infotainment screen’s frame highlight genuine construction methods. A push-button starter, featuring a weather-proof surround, is standard on the 2020 Gladiator and is easily located within the driver’s reach. Cloth or leather-contoured seats feature accent stitching and adjustable bolster and lumbar support. Available comfort features include heated front seats and steering wheel. All-new rear seats feature high-quality premium materials giving the seats an athletic look that also delivers comfort and support. The rear seats, exclusive to Gladiator, feature segment-leading rear legroom and utilizes a unique design that can be locked in place to provide secure storage behind the seat back. The rear seats can be folded flat to access cab-back storage and provide a load floor for larger items. With the rear seats folded flat, LED lights on the quarter trim panels illuminate the storage space behind the seats. Two storage nets on the cab-back wall provide even more secure storage. Clever storage solutions are found throughout the 2020 Gladiator, including durable mesh pockets that extend the entire length of the doors and numerous phone storage areas. The rear seat cushions can fold up into “stadium” position to reveal a standard open storage bin, which utilizes the space under the seat for stowing miscellaneous items. An optional lockable bin provides secure storage space when the top or doors are removed. The available lockable storage bin features two different size doors that correspond to the 60/40 split rear seat cushion. Removable dividers can provide up to five separate compartments and uses the same lock as the glove box and center console. A removable bolt bin fits in the under-seat storage space and makes it easy to secure bolts when the doors and top are removed, or the windshield is folded down. The bolt bin lid indicates the corresponding number of bolts and their location under the lid in Petroglyph style. The driver and front passenger vinyl-wrapped door-trim panels are soft to the touch. Lift-Assist handles under each door armrest feature an integrated pull-cup design that makes door removal quick and easy. Convenience features include passive entry with Keyless Go. The instrument cluster features a 3.5- or an available 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) information LED display. The 7-inch LED display allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways, including current media being played, tire pressure, tire-fill alert or digital speed readout. Integrated buttons on the steering wheel control audio, voice and speed functions, allowing the driver to keep hands on the wheel at all times. A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen houses the fourth-generation Uconnect system and sits prominently atop the center stack. The fourth-generation Uconnect system enhances the user interface and system performance with quicker startup times and improved screen resolution. A 5.0-inch touchscreen is standard on Gladiator Sport. Directly below the touchscreen are functional features, such as climate and volume control knobs and media connectivity ports. Exclusive to Gladiator Rubicon models, a forward-facing off-road camera allows obstructions ahead on the trail to be easily seen. The front camera sits behind the middle slot of Gladiator’s seven-slot grille and can be accessed through the available Off-road Pages. Two USB ports and a USB-C port up front and two in reach of occupants in the back seat connect to the media center. A 115-volt AC outlet is available to power select three-pronged home electronics. Optional audio upgrades include a subwoofer and portable wireless speaker located behind the rear seat. LED lights on quarter-trim panels illuminate the storage space and the docking station for the wireless speaker. A net on the left side of the cab wall provides additional storage when equipped with the subwoofer and wireless speaker. Advanced fuel-efficient powertrains The all-new Jeep Gladiator offers the proven 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine at launch with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine being offered in 2020. 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine The FCA US 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and features ESS as standard equipment. It is engineered to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, an essential trait needed for extreme off-roading. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional. Known for its refinement, power, efficiency and adaptability, the Company has produced more than 8.6 million 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engines since production began in 2010. The award-winning engine family is currently built at three plants – Trenton (Michigan) Engine Complex, Mack Avenue (Detroit) Engine and Saltillo (Mexico) South Engine. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator benefits from the popular V-6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during demanding conditions, such as hauling cargo or towing a trailer. 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2020. Gladiator models will offer the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, with ESS standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and is designed to handle the increased torque output. FCA US engineers adapted the engine – designed and manufactured by FCA EMEA – to meet the NAFTA region’s regulatory requirements. The EcoDiesel V-6 engine implements refined turbocharger technology with a low-friction bearing designed for low-end and transient performance. The EcoDiesel V-6 engine also features low-friction pistons to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide an enhanced combustion system – injector nozzle, piston bowl and glow plug with integrated combustion pressure sensor to optimize combustion. Low Pressure Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) assists to combine with the high-pressure system to expand the range of EGR usage and to improve fuel economy. Eight-speed automatic transmission The new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers an eight-speed automatic transmission, enabling the vehicle to optimize engine output while on the trails or enjoying smooth, efficient power delivery at highway speeds. The eight-speed automatic is available on all Jeep Gladiator models. Gladiator’s eight-speed automatic transmission offers a responsive driving experience. Whether commuting during the week or rock crawling or hauling cargo on the weekend, customers will enjoy a smooth, linear power delivery and improved fuel efficiency. A unique set of two overdrive ratios improve highway fuel economy and reduce overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels. Uniquely suited to the requirements of the Gladiator Rubicon model, the eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. The towing and 4x4 performance benefits from a 4.7:1 first gear ratio coupled with a 4.1:1 final drive delivers unmatched capability. Six-speed manual transmission All-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator models are equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. This transmission features a unique design that employs optimized gear ratios for bolstered crawl ratio performance and is cable-operated, eliminating shifter vibration and bolstering sound isolation. The shift pattern features a comfortable shifting position and bolsters shift accuracy. A 4.41 ratio spread offers impressive fuel efficiency at faster speeds and delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality. Most capable midsize truck ever without compromise The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator delivers legendary off-road capability courtesy of two advanced 4x4 systems. The Command-Trac 4x4 system, standard on Sport and Overland, features a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a 3.73 rear axle ratio. On Gladiator Rubicon, a Rock-Trac 4x4 system features heavy-duty third-generation Dana 44 front and rear axles with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1. A 4.10 front and rear axle ratio is standard as are Tru-Lok locking differentials. Gladiator Rubicon models offer improved articulation and total suspension travel with help from a segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect. With the standard six-speed manual transmission, Gladiator Rubicon has an impressive crawl ratio of 84.2:1, and 77.2:1 on Rubicon models equipped with the optional eight-speed automatic transmission – both of which make scaling any obstacle on the trail easy. Both Command-Trac and Rock-Trac systems offer full-time torque management, enabling optimal grip in low-traction conditions. An available Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential on Sport and Overland provides extra torque and grip during slippery, low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice. Gladiator Sport, Overland and Rubicon models receive a Trail Rated badge thanks to legendary Jeep 4x4 capability, which includes features such as: Command-Trac 4x4 system with 2.72:1 crawl ratio standard on Sport and Overland models Rock-Trac 4x4 system with a “4LO” ratio of 4:1 and Tru-Lok locking differentials standard on Rubicon models Skid plates and front and rear tow hooks Standard on Rubicon rear steel heavy-duty off-road rear bumper and available front steel winch-ready bumper with removable end caps Approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and ground clearance of 11.1 inches Aggressive available 17-inch off-road wheels; Rubicon models get 33-inch tires standard Up to 30 inches of water fording Up to 7,650-lb. towing and 1,600-lb. 4x4 payload capacity Rugged body-on-frame design is the foundation for legendary Jeep truck utility and durability The 2020 Jeep Gladiator utilizes a variety of ways to optimize ride, handling and sound characteristics while bolstering fuel economy even while towing and hauling. Utilizing a body-on-frame design and featuring a superbly engineered five-link suspension system, Gladiator delivers on capability, with composed on-road driving dynamics, passenger safety and best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload capacity. Gladiator’s body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable, and features an all-new lightweight, high-strength steel frame. When compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator’s frame is an additional 31 inches longer while the wheelbase is 19.4 inches longer. The longer wheelbase and the bed’s positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline enables for better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo. The prop shaft, brake, fuel lines and exhaust system were lengthened to accommodate the changes needed to make the proven body-on-frame design work with the most capable midsize truck ever. A traditional steel bed utilizes four steel cross-members to reinforce the load floor while the aluminum tailgate is damped. Utility and versatility are maximized with strong integrated tie-downs, under-rail bed lighting and an optional covered external power source. To protect critical vehicle components while on the trail, including the fuel tank, transfer case and automatic transmission oil pan, Gladiator employs four skid plates and bars. Rubicon models benefit from the use of heavy gauge tubular steel rock rails to curtail potential body damage inflicted while out on the trail. Rubicon models also feature segment-exclusive rock rails for the bed corners. The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and tailgate, help curtail weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to manage weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear. Gladiator utilizes the proven five-link coil suspension configuration with the front suspension using a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel. The rear five-link coil suspension design, exclusive to Gladiator, features two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and a track bar for lateral axle control. The control arms are located under of the frame rails while the rear shocks are forward facing to provide consistent damping for ride comfort and load management. The springs have been tuned for an optimum balance between on-road handling while providing a comfortable ride around town, with or without cargo in the bed, and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, handling, payload and towing capability is significantly enhanced with assistance from shock tuning, hard points and body mount strategy. An approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and a ground clearance of 11.1 inches allows Gladiator to go anywhere. Gladiator also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording, up to 1,600 pounds of payload and up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity with the available Max Towing Package. More than 80 available advanced safety and security features Safety and security were paramount in the development of the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, which offers more than 80 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation. Fourth-generation Uconnect system delivers advanced technology The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers three Uconnect systems – Uconnect 5-inch, 7-inch and 8.4NAV, delivering communication, entertainment and navigation features drivers and passengers desire, including a full-color LED instrument cluster. The Uconnect system includes easy-to-use features, enhanced processing power, faster startup times and touchscreens that display high-resolution graphics. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available with the Uconnect 7.0 or 8.4NAV systems and includes the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features. Apple CarPlay Seamlessly integrates an iPhone with the vehicle’s built-in display and controls in addition to featuring Siri Voice control. iPhone-equipped drivers can make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, and receive voice-guided navigation optimized for traffic conditions and more, while staying focused on the road. Android Auto System shares useful information when driving and makes it easy to access the best of Google technology. Featuring Google Maps with free voice-guided navigation, live traffic information and lane guidance, as well as on-demand access to 30 million songs with Google Play Music, the ability to place phone calls or send and receive messages while keeping hands on the wheel and ask Google search any question, Android Auto makes it easy to access popular apps and content from the Uconnect system’s touchscreen. Drivers and passengers also have an abundance of infotainment features at their fingertips with SiriusXM Radio, Travel Link, Traffic and Connected Services that provide real-time information. View full article
  5. Acura's crossover lineup has been a bright spot for the Japanese automaker. For example, the redesigned RDX has been setting monthly sales records for sixth straight months since being launched in June. According to Automotive News, deliveries of the RDX "are outpacing 2017 by 22 percent." A fair number of automakers would take this as a sign to continue building out their crossover lineup. But Acura will instead focus on their car lineup. "We don't know what's going to happen in the future. What's critical is that we stay disciplined and balanced. [We'll] do our best to hit home runs with our sedans also," said Acura General Manager Jon Ikeda. Acura wants to emulate the success of the RDX onto their sedans. That means bringing a more aggressive design and adding more performance to their three sedans - the ILX, TLX, and RLX. But what about the CDX?! For a time, we have been hearing murmurs about Acura possibly bringing over the CDX from China. The CDX shares the same platform as the Honda HR-V, but features an extroverted design. But an Acura spokesman tells Automotive News that the RDX "can reach down into that smaller segment with its pricing and sway consumers with its added room." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  6. China has announced today that it would be reducing tariffs on U.S.-built cars and car parts from 40 to 15 percent beginning on January 1st. This reduction will last for three months as the U.S. and China begin hashing out a new trade deal. We first reported the reduction of the tariffs earlier this week. China's Ministry of Finance posted on their website said it hopes the talks between the two can go quickly and remove "all additional tariffs on each other’s goods" that were brought forth before the current trade-war. “China just announced that their economy is growing much slower than anticipated because of our Trade War with them. They have just suspended U.S. Tariff Hikes. U.S. is doing very well. China wants to make a big and very comprehensive deal. It could happen, and rather soon!” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter in response to the announcement. China raised the tariffs on U.S.-built vehicles and parts back in July in response to the U.S. raised tariffs on Chinese-built vehicles and parts to 27.5 percent. The move caused a number of headaches for automakers which had to increase prices on models sold in China or change up various plans. Various automakers and groups welcomed the news. At the moment, the U.S. hasn't announced any plans to reduce the 27.5 percent tariff on Chinese-built vehicles and parts. Source: Associated Press, Reuters
  7. Infiniti will be debuting another electric concept at next month's Detroit Auto Show. The Japanese automaker has released a teaser showing off a curvaceous crossover. The details we can pull from this image include slim LED headlights, light-up badging, cameras taking the place of the side-view mirrors, and a sloping roofline. "The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand. Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy," said Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI in a statement. The concept will also debut a new modular platform that was built with electrification in mind. The platform, expected to debut on a production model in 2021, will be able to use parallel hybrid and pure electric powertrains. Source: Infiniti On Road to Electrification, INFINITI previews future fully-electric crossover, Showcases new EV platform North American International Auto Show world premiere of future fully-electric INFINITI crossover INFINITI to showcase a new EV platform INFINITI celebrating 30 years in 2019 HONG KONG – INFINITI will preview a vision for its first fully-electric crossover at The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January, revealing a new form design language for electrification, infused with Japanese DNA. INFINITI made its global debut 30 years ago at the NAIAS. The advent of electrified platforms heralds a fresh approach to what crossover and sedan platforms look like, both inside and out. With new exterior proportions, electrification also gifts interior space, enabling spacious, and lounge-like interiors, rich in welcoming and assistive technologies. In January, the company announced INFINITI would electrify its portfolio from 2021 onward, using either e-power (serial hybrid) or pure EV powertrains. "Thirty years ago, as a 24-year old designer in the audience, I saw the birth of INFINITI in person and am proud to be part of the journey of creating iconic luxury automobiles," said Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co. "Now, 30 years later, Q Inspiration shows how new proportions triggered by the new electrified power of INFINITI has inspired a new direction, a new visual language. Alongside our Prototype 10 Pebble Beach Concept, both designs embody a deep simplicity inspired by the technology within and a new artistry inspired by our unique culture and of course our roots in Japan." The Q Inspiration, revealed at the 2018 NAIAS, and Prototype 10, seen at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d 'Elegance, both provided elements of a futuristic design language. At the 2019 NAIAS in January, these elements will come together to provide the clearest vision yet of the future of INFINITI in an era of electrified design. "The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand. Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy," said Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI. "The industry is at a technological inflection point," said Roland Krueger, Chairman and Global President of INFINITI Motor Co. "As such, INFINITI has a compelling vision as a luxury challenger brand to bring a full portfolio of beautifully-designed electric vehicles to customers around the world. We will focus on developing the full portfolio of e-power and EVs." INFINITI recently reported the best November sales in the brand's 29-year history. View full article
  8. Infiniti will be debuting another electric concept at next month's Detroit Auto Show. The Japanese automaker has released a teaser showing off a curvaceous crossover. The details we can pull from this image include slim LED headlights, light-up badging, cameras taking the place of the side-view mirrors, and a sloping roofline. "The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand. Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy," said Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI in a statement. The concept will also debut a new modular platform that was built with electrification in mind. The platform, expected to debut on a production model in 2021, will be able to use parallel hybrid and pure electric powertrains. Source: Infiniti On Road to Electrification, INFINITI previews future fully-electric crossover, Showcases new EV platform North American International Auto Show world premiere of future fully-electric INFINITI crossover INFINITI to showcase a new EV platform INFINITI celebrating 30 years in 2019 HONG KONG – INFINITI will preview a vision for its first fully-electric crossover at The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January, revealing a new form design language for electrification, infused with Japanese DNA. INFINITI made its global debut 30 years ago at the NAIAS. The advent of electrified platforms heralds a fresh approach to what crossover and sedan platforms look like, both inside and out. With new exterior proportions, electrification also gifts interior space, enabling spacious, and lounge-like interiors, rich in welcoming and assistive technologies. In January, the company announced INFINITI would electrify its portfolio from 2021 onward, using either e-power (serial hybrid) or pure EV powertrains. "Thirty years ago, as a 24-year old designer in the audience, I saw the birth of INFINITI in person and am proud to be part of the journey of creating iconic luxury automobiles," said Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design, Nissan Motor Co. "Now, 30 years later, Q Inspiration shows how new proportions triggered by the new electrified power of INFINITI has inspired a new direction, a new visual language. Alongside our Prototype 10 Pebble Beach Concept, both designs embody a deep simplicity inspired by the technology within and a new artistry inspired by our unique culture and of course our roots in Japan." The Q Inspiration, revealed at the 2018 NAIAS, and Prototype 10, seen at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d 'Elegance, both provided elements of a futuristic design language. At the 2019 NAIAS in January, these elements will come together to provide the clearest vision yet of the future of INFINITI in an era of electrified design. "The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand. Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy," said Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI. "The industry is at a technological inflection point," said Roland Krueger, Chairman and Global President of INFINITI Motor Co. "As such, INFINITI has a compelling vision as a luxury challenger brand to bring a full portfolio of beautifully-designed electric vehicles to customers around the world. We will focus on developing the full portfolio of e-power and EVs." INFINITI recently reported the best November sales in the brand's 29-year history.
  9. Earlier this week, we reported that Chevrolet wouldn't be showing anything at next month's Detroit Auto Show, deflating the dreams of many that the mid-engine Corvette would finally be revealed. We found ourselves wondering if something happened that caused Chevrolet to rethink their plans. GM Authority has learned from sources that a problem with the next-generation Corvette's electrical system has been found. The current system isn't able to carry the load necessary to support the necessary components in the vehicle. This will result in engineers making various changes to the system and suppliers to come up with new parts. This has reportedly pushed back the launch by six months. GM Authority does report that this delay shouldn't prevent Chevrolet from launching the mid-engine Corvette as a 2020 model-year vehicle. Source: GM Authority View full article
  10. Earlier this week, we reported that Chevrolet wouldn't be showing anything at next month's Detroit Auto Show, deflating the dreams of many that the mid-engine Corvette would finally be revealed. We found ourselves wondering if something happened that caused Chevrolet to rethink their plans. GM Authority has learned from sources that a problem with the next-generation Corvette's electrical system has been found. The current system isn't able to carry the load necessary to support the necessary components in the vehicle. This will result in engineers making various changes to the system and suppliers to come up with new parts. This has reportedly pushed back the launch by six months. GM Authority does report that this delay shouldn't prevent Chevrolet from launching the mid-engine Corvette as a 2020 model-year vehicle. Source: GM Authority
  11. (Author's Note: Before diving into this review, I did an Afterthoughts piece on maximizing the fuel economy in the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk last month. If you want to see Trackhawk somewhat out of its element, then check out the piece here.) I keep a list of vehicles that I would like to evaluate on my computer. This list is what I reference whenever I reach out to automakers and inquire about getting vehicles. Some of the vehicles on the list only spend a short time, while others are there for years. An example of the latter is the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Having driven this briefly a couple of times within the past few years, I was shocked by how capable this machine was around a winding road and power on tap. I always wanted to see how this model would fare during a week-long test where it would serve as a daily driver. Fast forward to this October when I finally got my chance to spend some quality time with one. Although, this wasn’t any Grand Cherokee SRT. What pulled up in my driveway was the SRT Trackhawk with the 6.2L Supercharged Hellcat V8 and 707 horsepower under the hood. This was going be an interesting week I thought while walking around the vehicle. The capability on offer with the Trackhawk really defies the laws of physics. For example, the Trackhawk will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Quite impressive when you consider that it tips the scales at a hefty 5,363 pounds. A lot of credit has to go to the all-wheel drive system which shuffles the power around to make sure it gets onto the payment, not in tire smoke. Stab the throttle and hold on to dear life as supercharged V8 thunders into life. Within the blink of an eye, you’ll be traveling well above the posted speed limits. Even lightly pressing on the pedal gets the Trackhawk up to speed at a surprising rate. Starting up the Trackhawk is always an event as the engine provides a growl that is more common on late 60’s high-performance muscle cars. Your neighbors may get annoyed get after while with the noise, especially in the early morning hours. On the road, it will be hard to resist stepping on the throttle to hear the whine of the supercharger and cracking exhaust note. Overall fuel economy for the week? Somehow, I was able to achieve 14 mpg. For the suspension, Jeep lowered the ride height, replaced various components, and did some revised tuning. It makes for an entertaining vehicle in the corners with reduced body roll and impressive response from the steering. Some drivers will be wishing for the steering to provide more road feel. A set of optional Pirelli P Zero tires were fitted onto my tester and provide a noticeable increase in grip. However, these tires perform at their best when they are warmed up. Push them when you first get onto the road or in cold weather, and you’ll find out they lose a fair amount of grip. The changes to the suspension does cause the ride to be slightly rougher with some bumps do make their way inside. The Grand Cherokee SRT was already an egressive looking beast with an altered front end (narrowed front grille with three slots underneath and black surround for the headlights), larger wheels, and huge exhaust tips. Trackhawk models only add some small touches such as ‘Supercharged’ badging on the doors, black exhaust tips, and a Trackhawk badge on the tailgate. If there is one disappointment to the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it would be the interior. For a vehicle with a price tag of over $90,000, Jeep could have done something to make it feel somewhat special. Yes, there is carbon fiber trim, Alcantara inserts for the seats, and a quite thick steering wheel. But the rest if the interior is what you’ll find on other Grand Cherokees, which makes the Trackhawk a bit of a tough sell. On the upside, the Trackhawk retains many of the plus points of the Grand Cherokee’s interior such as ample room for passengers, logical control layout, and the excellent UConnect infotainment system. To summarize the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it is quite absurd. An SUV should not be able to hit 60 mph in under four seconds, be agile in the corners, and have a snarl that will give muscle cars a run for their money. It is not a logical vehicle and yet, it is quite impressive what has been pulled off. Disclaimer: Jeep Provided the Grand Cherokee, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Gallery: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk Year: 2018 Make: Jeep Model: Grand Cherokee Trim: SRT Trackhawk Engine: 6.2L Supercharged V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 645 @ 4,800 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - Curb Weight: 53,63 lbs Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan Base Price: $86,200 As Tested Price: $91,530 (Includes $1,445 Destination Charge) Options: High-Performance Audio System - $1,995.00 20-inch x 10-inch Black Satin Aluminum Wheels - $995.00 295/45ZR20 BSW 3 Season Tires - $895.00 View full article
  12. (Author's Note: Before diving into this review, I did an Afterthoughts piece on maximizing the fuel economy in the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk last month. If you want to see Trackhawk somewhat out of its element, then check out the piece here.) I keep a list of vehicles that I would like to evaluate on my computer. This list is what I reference whenever I reach out to automakers and inquire about getting vehicles. Some of the vehicles on the list only spend a short time, while others are there for years. An example of the latter is the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Having driven this briefly a couple of times within the past few years, I was shocked by how capable this machine was around a winding road and power on tap. I always wanted to see how this model would fare during a week-long test where it would serve as a daily driver. Fast forward to this October when I finally got my chance to spend some quality time with one. Although, this wasn’t any Grand Cherokee SRT. What pulled up in my driveway was the SRT Trackhawk with the 6.2L Supercharged Hellcat V8 and 707 horsepower under the hood. This was going be an interesting week I thought while walking around the vehicle. The capability on offer with the Trackhawk really defies the laws of physics. For example, the Trackhawk will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Quite impressive when you consider that it tips the scales at a hefty 5,363 pounds. A lot of credit has to go to the all-wheel drive system which shuffles the power around to make sure it gets onto the payment, not in tire smoke. Stab the throttle and hold on to dear life as supercharged V8 thunders into life. Within the blink of an eye, you’ll be traveling well above the posted speed limits. Even lightly pressing on the pedal gets the Trackhawk up to speed at a surprising rate. Starting up the Trackhawk is always an event as the engine provides a growl that is more common on late 60’s high-performance muscle cars. Your neighbors may get annoyed get after while with the noise, especially in the early morning hours. On the road, it will be hard to resist stepping on the throttle to hear the whine of the supercharger and cracking exhaust note. Overall fuel economy for the week? Somehow, I was able to achieve 14 mpg. For the suspension, Jeep lowered the ride height, replaced various components, and did some revised tuning. It makes for an entertaining vehicle in the corners with reduced body roll and impressive response from the steering. Some drivers will be wishing for the steering to provide more road feel. A set of optional Pirelli P Zero tires were fitted onto my tester and provide a noticeable increase in grip. However, these tires perform at their best when they are warmed up. Push them when you first get onto the road or in cold weather, and you’ll find out they lose a fair amount of grip. The changes to the suspension does cause the ride to be slightly rougher with some bumps do make their way inside. The Grand Cherokee SRT was already an egressive looking beast with an altered front end (narrowed front grille with three slots underneath and black surround for the headlights), larger wheels, and huge exhaust tips. Trackhawk models only add some small touches such as ‘Supercharged’ badging on the doors, black exhaust tips, and a Trackhawk badge on the tailgate. If there is one disappointment to the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it would be the interior. For a vehicle with a price tag of over $90,000, Jeep could have done something to make it feel somewhat special. Yes, there is carbon fiber trim, Alcantara inserts for the seats, and a quite thick steering wheel. But the rest if the interior is what you’ll find on other Grand Cherokees, which makes the Trackhawk a bit of a tough sell. On the upside, the Trackhawk retains many of the plus points of the Grand Cherokee’s interior such as ample room for passengers, logical control layout, and the excellent UConnect infotainment system. To summarize the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it is quite absurd. An SUV should not be able to hit 60 mph in under four seconds, be agile in the corners, and have a snarl that will give muscle cars a run for their money. It is not a logical vehicle and yet, it is quite impressive what has been pulled off. Disclaimer: Jeep Provided the Grand Cherokee, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas Gallery: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk Year: 2018 Make: Jeep Model: Grand Cherokee Trim: SRT Trackhawk Engine: 6.2L Supercharged V8 Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000 Torque @ RPM: 645 @ 4,800 Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - Curb Weight: 53,63 lbs Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan Base Price: $86,200 As Tested Price: $91,530 (Includes $1,445 Destination Charge) Options: High-Performance Audio System - $1,995.00 20-inch x 10-inch Black Satin Aluminum Wheels - $995.00 295/45ZR20 BSW 3 Season Tires - $895.00

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